U. Michigan to grow China ties

Updated: 2015-03-13 13:00

By Amy He in New York(China Daily USA)

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The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, rated one of the top MBA programs in the country, is looking to expand its presence in China and ramp up research efforts with partner schools, the business school's dean said.

"Business is global, that's no surprise to anybody," said Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the Ross School of Business. "One of the questions business schools have had to grapple with is, as we become global business schools, where do we focus our effort?

"We've had a very explicit conversation about that as a school, and one of the areas where we decided to focus on is China," she said. "I think the reasons are obvious - that China is such an important part of the global landscape; that whatever line of business you're in, you're probably going to be dealing with Chinese customers or dealing with Chinese financiers," she said.

Ranked as one of the 20 best business schools in America by US News, the Ross School has close to 900 students in its master's of business administration program, 450 of whom are full-time students. Of the full-time students, 5 percent are from China, which is "not a trivial number" for a class that size, Davis-Blake said.

A year's tuition costs $55,000, and the full-time program is two years long.

The school has seen increasing interest from international applicants, particularly from China, and Asia in general, Davis-Blake said. The rate of increase in demand from international students is also outpacing that from domestic students, a trend reflected across many MBA programs in the US.

A report from the Council of Graduate Schools last year said that the number of Chinese applicants to US graduate schools is declining, but that business schools saw a rise in applications.

"We have - and I'm confident that our peers have as well - been seeing more interest, and by interest I mean applications from China, specifically, and Asia generally," Davis-Blake said. "Each year we have more interest and more applications from both China and Asia. At the same time that we have more interest, and as I said, all of the elite MBA programs look to create a truly global class, there is increasing competition for students of all types."

School administrators travel to China with the admissions team, connecting with alumni, who in turn connect the school with prospective students. The school depends heavily on its alumni network - which Davis-Blake said is the largest, living alumni network of any university - for building its applicant pool.

"We have a lot of people in companies where they're able to spot students," she said. "Our alumni network in China represents the historic strength of Michigan Ross.

Most of the alumni work in finance and finance-related fields, as well as management and strategic consulting.

The Ross School has a partnership with the Shanghai Jiaotong University that involves joint research and joint education programs, and the dean said that the schools are looking to increase their research opportunities, with one initiative being a study of China's supply chains.

"The two areas we're looking into are sustainable supply chains, which is understanding the role of China in the global supply chain and also supply chain in China, primarily from the point of view of sustainability given that the environmental issues are a big concern in China, and how some companies are innovating and looking at these challenges and countering with solutions," said M. S. Krishnan, the school's associate dean of global initiatives.

Faculty from Ross and faculty from Shanghai Jiaotong's business school - Antai College of Economics and Management - will do fieldwork and potentially look into holding joint conferences and forums. They will also do industry visits to look at Chinese companies and the problems they face as they relate to building sustainable supply chains and business innovation, he said.

Ross also partners with the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Shanghai, as well as the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


(China Daily USA 03/13/2015 page2)